FoA applauds discovery of new bat species in West Africa

For decades Friends of Animals has done conservation work in West Africa, which is why we have a big cheer for the group of scientists, led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International, who have discovered a new bat species in the Nimba mountain range there.

The species, a striking orange and black bat that the researchers expect is likely critically endangered, underscores the importance of sub-Saharan “sky islands” to bat diversity. The Nimba Mountains have peaks rising between 1,600-1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level and are surrounded by drastically different lowland habitats. As such, they are home to exceptional biodiversity, including bats.

“In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope,” said Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It’s a spectacular animal. It has this bright-orange fur, and because it was so distinct, that led us to realize it was not described before. Discovering a new mammal is rare. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child.”

In West Africa, Friends of Animals currently supports the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project in the Gambia, as well as an oryx reintroduction project and community gardens in Senegal.

A new conservation effort is also underway in Senegal—the reintroduction of the North African, red-necked ostrich.

For decades FoA also helped fight the poaching of the region’s elephants by providing equipment, vehicles and training.